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Pakistan | Family List | Aizoaceae | Portulaca

Portulaca oleracea Linn., Sp. Pl. 445. 1753. DC., l.c. 351; Dalz. & Gibs., l.c.; Boiss., l. c.; Oliver, Fl. Trop. Afr. 1:148. 1868; Thiselton Dyer in Hook. f., l.c. ; Fawcet & Randle, Fl. Jamaica 3:169. 1914; Kirtikar & Basu, Ind. Med. Pl. 1:135. 1918; Ridley, Fl. Malay. Penin. 1:151. 1922; Cooke, l.c.; Gamble, l.c. ; Kashyap, l.c.; Bailey, stand. Cycl. Hort. 3:2766. 1950; Hutch. & Dalz., l.c.; Tackholm & Drar, Stud. Fl. Egypt. 406. 1956; Maheshwari, l.c., 71; S. M. Walters in Tutin et at, l. c.; Jafri, l.c. 121; M.J.E. Coode in Davis, Fl. Turk. 2:13. 1967.

Vern. Kulfe Ka Sag, Salunak, Lunak, Khurfa.

  • Portulaca aurea Hort. ex DC.
  • Portulaca consanguinea Schlecht
  • Portulaca laevis Buch-Ham.
  • Portulaca officinarum Crantz
  • Portulaca olitoria Pall.
  • Portulaca parviflora Haw.
  • Portulaca suffruticosa Thw.
  • Portulaca viridis Hort. ex DC.

    Annual or perennial, prostrate or erect, c. 25 cm tall, succulent, glabrous, green or purplish green herb. Branches and stem with 3-20 mm rarely up to 50 mm long internodes. Leaves alternate or subopposite, closely crowded below the flowers, spathulate or obovate-oblong to linear-oblong, attenuate at the base, sub-sessile, obtuse or truncate, 3-25 mm long, 1.5-8 mm broad, thick, fleshy, glabrous, glistening white below, green or purplish-green above; stipular appendages usually absent, or rarely every minute and setaceous. Inflorescence usually in the forks of branches, cymose, with clusters of 3-6 flowers subtended by 4-leaved involucre, rarely flowers solitary and terminal. Flowers sessile, yellow, 5-8 mm across, bracteate; bracts membranous, ovate, c. 3 mm long, acuminate, white or somewhat purplish. Sepals subequal, basally united into a short, 2-3 mm long tube, keeled; lobes 2-3 mm long, slightly hooded, margin broad membranous, acute, deciduous. Petals 5, deliquescent, slightly united at the base, obovate, 5-6 mm long, 2.5-3 mm wide, yellow, emarginate with mucronulate notch. Stamens 7-12, basally somewhat united and adnate to petals, filaments c. 2.5 mm long, sensitive to touch, anthers ovoid. Ovary c. 2 mm long, half embedded in calyx tube, ovoid; style 1.5-2 mm long, stigmas 4-5, sticky, c. 1 mm long. Capsule many-seeded, 6-8 mm long, 3-4 mm in diam. Seeds shining black, c. 0.5-0.8 mm, reniform, testa tuberculate.

    Fl. Per. Flowers open in morning throughout the year.

    Type: Described from Europe, India, Ascension Island & America. Herb. Linn. 625/1 (LINN).

    Distribution: A cosmopolitan weed in cultivated fields and waste moist places. Probably native of South-West parts of United States and now widely distributed in warm temperate, tropical and subtropical regions throughout the world.

    The cultivated subsp. sativa (Haw) Celak., (Prodr. Fl. Bohm. 484. 1875) is used as a pot herb and sold in market under the name Kulfe Ka Sag. The extract of stem is applied on skin against burning sensation and prickly heat. The purslane constitutes a useful article of diet in scurvy and diseases of lungs, liver and kidney. The leaves are slightly acidic and used as refrigerant, anti-scorbutic, astringent in dysuria, irritation of bladder, haematuria, haemoptysis and gonorrhoea. The black granulated seeds are called Tukhm-i-Khurfa-ae-Siyah and used in preparation of Unani and Ayurvedic medicines, as a demalcent, astringent, diuretic and vermifuge.


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